Detroit man survives 18 days on ventilator. ‘Can I come home now?’

Anthony Moses — pictured with granddaughter London, center, and daughter TaRynn — is a family man, a guitar player, and an unlikely survivor of 18 days on a ventilator in a bout with the coronavirus. (Courtesy photo)

Anthony Moses could have easily been another grim statistic in Michigan’s coronavirus pandemic.

The 63-year-old Detroit man had a multitude of underlying health conditions when he entered Beaumont Hospital in Farmington Hills March 14. He was coughing, couldn’t catch his breath, and was extremely weak.

“I’m tired of fighting,” he told his wife, Tiffiney Moses, as she prepared to drive him to the hospital.

It took four days to get test results showing Moses was the suburban Detroit hospital’s first coronavirus patient and among the first several hundred confirmed cases in Michigan. By March 20, his condition had deteriorated to the point that he was placed on a ventilator.

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Once on a ventilator, the majority of coronavirus victims don’t recover.

Anthony Moses beat the odds, being taken off the ventilator and breathing on his own Tuesday, after 18 days on the breathing machine. He remains hospitalized but has been moved out of intensive care.

Michigan gets daily updates on the number of coronavirus cases in the state (now over 21,000) and the number of deaths (which surpassed 1,000 on  Thursday). 

Accounts of coronavirus patients like Moses, who stared down death and survived, don’t often make headlines. But it’s those very stories that keep exhausted doctors and nurses going through an unprecedented pandemic.

“We’re starting to celebrate the victories instead of all the death,” said Dr. David Hess, the emergency medicine physician who cared for Moses when he arrived nearly a month ago. “That’s helping morale in the hospital.”

There has, of course, been plenty of death linked to a virus with no existing vaccine. Since the pandemic hit Michigan, 296 coronavirus patients have died in Beaumont hospitals. 

There aren’t reliable numbers statewide for the number of coronavirus patients who have been hospitalized and then released.

Stories from the front  

Bridge Magazine and the Detroit Free Press are teaming up to report on Michigan hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic. We will be sharing accounts of the challenges doctors, nurses and other hospital personnel face as they work to treat patients and save lives. 

If you work in a Michigan hospital, we would love to hear from you. You can contact Robin Erb rerb@bridgemi.com at Bridge or Kristen Jordan Shamus kshamus@freepress.com at the Free Press.

In Beaumont’s system, there were 1,031 patients with confirmed cases of COVID-19 hospitalized as of Wednesday; 1,158 hospitalized since March 1 have since been sent home

Moses was one of 13 Beaumont COVID-19 patients removed from ventilators on Tuesday, bringing the total for the hospital system to 64.

Tiffiney Moses hasn’t been able to visit her husband since he first entered Beaumont. She gets daily updates from doctors and nurses by phone, and occasionally has talked to her husband by FaceTime when he was awake (ventilator patients are typically sedated).

“Once they’re on the ventilator, there’s not a lot we can do for them other than to optimize the ventilator settings,” Beaumont physician Hess said.

“Some of the doctors weren’t real hopeful,” Tiffiney Moses said. “They were shocked when he improved.”

After the ventilator was removed, a nurse helped Anthony Moses FaceTime with his wife.

His first words: “Can I come home now?” 

Moses, a big Pittsburgh Steeler fan who plays guitar and dotes on his 8-year-old daughter, still has a long road. After being immobile for weeks, he has to rebuild muscles at the hospital to stand and walk, Hess said.

The Oakland County hospital pipes a lullaby through the intercom system every time a baby is born. Recently, the hospital began playing something celebratory when a coronavirus patient recovers enough to come off a ventilator.

That’s happening more and more, Hess said.

“They’ve done over and above for my husband,” Tiffiney Moses said. “I am really appreciative of them.

“I just kept praying,” she said. “This is a miracle from God.”

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Comments

Paul
Thu, 04/09/2020 - 9:25pm

"he 63-year-old Detroit man had a multitude of underlying health conditions"

So why is this news? He was extremely high risk for dying from the normal flu too.

STOP THE HOAX. STOP THE SHUTDOWN. RECALL WHITMER.

Gary Lea
Fri, 04/10/2020 - 9:44am

Hoax?

Tam
Fri, 04/10/2020 - 12:06pm

Yup! That's why they are having mass burials of covid-19 victims in huge trenches in New York. Or wait - those are the people who didn't believe in social distancing and staying home to save lives.

Speechless
Fri, 04/10/2020 - 9:06am

So happy for him and his family.